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Overview

There are no evidences of ECT being used for managing cravings in people with drug addiction. Therefore, ECT is not to be employed for the purpose of treating drug addiction. However, ECT has been used effectively in treating depressive and anxiety symptoms. Depression and anxiety are often co-morbid conditions for people with drug addiction, as drugs are their means of coping with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings experienced as a result of these disorders. When medications and talk therapy are not effective in treating these symptoms of the person with addiction, especially in the case of co-morbid severe depression when the person’s life is at risk, ECT is prescribed as the treatment modality then.

ECT is a generally safe and non-invasive form of treatment for severe depression. The procedure involves the person being given a muscle relaxant and a general anaesthesia that puts the person to sleep. Controlled, electric current is passed through the person’s brain through electrodes attached on the scalp that induces a brief seizure. The person is carefully monitored during the treatment procedure, after which they awaken, do not remember the treatment procedure or the events related, and is often experiences confusion which lasts for only a short period of time.
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Living with Drug Addictions and Overcoming Them: Survivor Stories

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How effective is ECT for Drug Addiction?

There is no evidence of ECT being used for treating drug addiction directly. However, in addicted individuals with co-morbid severe depression which does not respond well to medications or psychotherapy, ECT is prescribed as an additional form of treatment.

What are the benefits of ECT for Drug Addiction?

ECT helps induce changes in the brain’s function that helps reduce symptoms of depression in individuals with severe depression. As drugs are often coping mechanisms for people to deal with negative thinking and feeling associated with depression and anxiety in people with co-morbid conditions, ECT for depression can help indirectly reduce the desire for indulging in drugs.

How many numbers of sessions are required?

It depends on the severity of the person’s condition and how well they respond to the ECT treatment.